Winter 2019

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NCGA.ORG | WINTER 2019 23 Rogers, 75, is entering her 30th year volunteering in the game at the club, regional and national level, including as President of the Women's Golf Associa- tion of Northern California in 1994 and as a rules official for both the NCGA and USGA. Rogers took up golf shortly after getting divorced. She was in her 30s, working a fulltime job while obtaining her real estate license, managing the apartment complex where she lived and raising a son in elemen- tary school. "Since I had so much free time, I decided why not," she jokes. "I wanted to try something new that I had never done before, and I had heard about golf. Once I got that ball in the air, that was it." It's a good thing she did because she later met her husband, Ken, at DeLaveaga Golf Course, a public facility in Santa Cruz. It was a chance encounter when she and a friend met after work to play nine and he and a mutual acquaintance happened to be at the tee so they formed a foursome. No. 10 is the course's No.1-handicap hole, which gave birth to an ongoing joke between the couple. "Whenever we have a little marital dispute, I say to my husband, 'The golf gods were trying to explain to you this was not an easy woman, but you didn't listen. You could have picked an easier hole.'" Rogers and her husband purchased a membership to Pasatiempo Golf Club in 1995, the club founded by Marion Hollins, a trailblazer in women's golf and a role model whose adventures in the game Rogers has paralleled while paving her own path. Rogers has chaired the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, became the first female Rules official at the U.S. Open and served in the same capacity at the Curtis Cup, an amateur competition captained first by none other than Hollins. In 1995, she was hired in Rules and Com- petitions, becoming the first woman to hold the position of Director of Education. "That was a bit of a shock to some of the gentlemen," Rogers says. "But it didn't take them long to figure out that, as one of them said, 'That I was OK.' " Better than okay, as a matter of fact. Consider that golf is played over hundreds of acres, under a variety of conditions, at both stroke and match play, with countless outcomes. The 156-page rulebook, which fits neatly in one's golf bag, bears a striking resemblance to your car manual, and probably gets as much use. But not for Rogers. She credits Ron Read, former USGA Western Regional Affairs Director, with introducing her to Decisions on the Rules of Golf, and sending her head-first down a rabbit hole. "It was like case law for the rules," Rogers says, "I finally found something that made sense to me." Rogers has lost count of how many USGA championships she worked, but considers accompanying Annika Sorenstam at the 2003 U.S. Women's Open at Pump- kin Ridge, Miguel Angel Jimenez at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and signing Retief Goosen's scorecard as his of- ficial marker at the 2000 U.S. Open among her many highlights. This summer, she was Honorary Chairperson at the U.S Girls' Junior at the NCGA's own Poppy Hills Golf Course. "I consider her among the best rules officials, not only because of her knowledge of the Rules, but more importantly her ability to deal with players under the stress of competition," Read says. Sandy Woodruff, a close personal friend and fellow member at Pasatiempo, cites an incident from some 20 years ago while playing in her first U.S. Senior Women's Amateur in Scottsdale, Arizona, as indica- tive of Rogers's grace under fire. "I needed a ruling and Gail happened to be on that hole and she let me know that there were several options I might want to consider and spelled each one out for me," Woodruff says. "She would've done the same for anybody." Rogers retired from the NCGA in 2008, but joined the Board of Directors in 2011. "I just couldn't imagine leaving the NCGA totally, so being a volunteer seemed like a logical thing to do after I retired," she says. It is her collection of diverse experiences in the game – and not her gender – that makes Rogers the right person at the right time to take the helm at the NCGA. "I think the real joy is going to be when we don't have to talk about the gender of the president," Rogers says. "I don't care what your gender is, and I hope you don't care about mine." I f ever there were a woman uniquely qualified to become the first female president of the NCGA in its 118-year history, Gail Rogers fits the bill. Hometown: Santa Cruz High School: Rocky Hill High School in Rocky Hill, Connecticut College: Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts Occupation: Former elementary school teacher Family: Husband, Ken, and chil- dren Ezra Manners, Julie Packer, Diane Harrison and David Rogers Joined NCGA board: 2011 Handicap Index: 17.2 Why You Love Golf: I guess just because of the joy that it brings me every time that I am out on the golf course with other people. Favorite Golf Memory: Officiating at the Curtis Cup at St. Andrews. The R&A gave us use of the clubhouse for the week, which was only the second time that they'd ever done that for women. Favorite Golf Courses: Too many to count, but the list includes Pasatiempo, Poppy Hills, Meadow Club, San Francisco Golf Club, Olympic Club, Corral de Tierra Country Club, Carmel Valley Ranch, Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club. They're all fun places. 2018 NCGA President Gail Rogers

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